PRINCETON--It was deja vu.
Last year the Harvard women's volleyball team opened the Ivy League tournament with a loss to Cornell.
And last night, the Crimson dropped a straight-set decision to the Big Red here at Jadwin Gym in front of 40 fans, 15-6, 15-4, 15-1.
The loss moved the Crimson to the loser's bracket in the double-elimination tournament. Harvard still has a chance to win the title, but it cannot lose any more games.
This morning, the Crimson faces Columbia in a must-win match for both teams. Earlier this year, Harvard defeated the Lions in straight sets.
The Crimson is hoping that it will experience deja vu for the rest of the tournament. After losing its first-round match last year, Harvard rebounded to take three of its next four to nab third place in the tournament.
"Hopefully we can pull it together for tomorrow's match," Harvard Captain Maia Forman said. "We definitely match up man-to-man with any team."
In the first set of last night's match with Cornell, the spikers started off quickly, taking a 4-0 lead. But the Big Red rallied to grab an 8-6 advantage.
Cornell then went on to capture the next seven points to take the first set.
After that, Harvard was unable to get anything started on either offense or defense.
The Big Red jumped out to a 9-1 advantage in the second set before senior Nicole Anderson recorded a block to stop Cornell's run. Anderson also scored a kill and junior Lee Polikoff recorded an ace to close the deficit to five, 9-4.
But the Big Red pulled out the final six points of the second set to take a two-game advantage in the match.
After the Crimson tied the third set, 1-1, Cornell rolled off the next 14 points to win the set and match. The Big Red will play Penn tomorrow afternoon in its second match in the winner's bracket.
Harvard needs better communication on the court and scrappy defense for the rest of the tournament if it wants to make up for its lack of height.
Sophomore Peri Wallace, who has been a force for the Crimson at the net all year, missed last night's game because of the chicken pox and is doubtful for the rest of the tourney.
"We have to make a better adjustment to the new lineup," Forman said. "We had a change in lineup because of Peri's absence."
All the other tournament matches were decided in three sets--Brown beat Yale, Penn topped Dartmouth and Princeton slammed Columbia.